You leave the sight of the attempted bandit ambush even more on edge than you were before. You’re very aware that one of the bandits escaped and may now be fleeing towards his brothers to warn them of your attack. You can’t help but wonder is the element of surprise lost?
You try to clear your head and continue along the path as shown on the map Trewin gave you. It takes less than an hour before you find your way to the logging encampment and to yet another gruesome scene: the loggers who left Logerswold to try to get back to work have been slain to a man, some even being tortured and crucified.
Warily you move into the camp and seek out any survivors or clues as to where the bandits fled to. You move through the camp and it is clear that the bandits fell on the loggers swiftly from all sides. All the bodies of those are loggers and the tracks leading away from the camp head off in numerous directions. You search for over two hours, Sifred following tracks into the woods and being forced to be double back again and again. Seemingly you have lost the bandits trail, and from scouting the area you see no sign of the stream your captor mentioned.
As it seems that you are at a dead end Sifred spies a white shape move down one of the trails. She warily moves towards it to get a closer look: a white Mabari stands at the end of the trail. It barks and darts into the woods. You scramble to follow it, all the while wondering just why Bann Trumhall’s mabari is out in the woods with you.
The mabari leads you along a winding a trail for more than half an hour before the dog disappears. Stopping to catch your breath you hear the rushing of water. Following the sound you come across a stream, presumably the one mentioned by the bandit you caught. You follow the stream, your feet splashing through the water despite your best efforts. After more than an hour you finally see it: a plume of smoke rising above the trees. You exit the stream and slip through the trees.
You’ve found it. The bandit camp lies ahead of you, hidden in a hollow and surrounded by tall trees. Izzar and Tobbin move quietly through the woods and scout out the camp. They return within half an hour and inform you of their findings and the numbers in the camp. You begin to devise a plan:
Tobbin and Sifred will sneak up on the sentries watching from the trees and take their position to hail arrows down on the camp below. While they position themselves there Izzar will sneak around to the far side of the camp, setting fire to the stables and freeing the horses, then trying to sneak into the Gore-Hands tent and finish him quietly. With Izzar in place Ser Garlyn and Sithig will stride into the open, across from the camp and challenge the bandits hoping to distract them. Your plan is in place. It is a good solid plan. You need now only wait for the cover of night.
With still two hours until sunset the sound of hooves draws your attention: A rider gallops into camp. Are you compromised? Do the bandits know you’re lying in wait?
No. That is not it at all.
The rider gallops into the camp calling out to his brothers and chuckling vindictively. Strung to the back of his horse is Dealia. She is flung to the ground and the bandits encircle her chuckling and jostling each other. This can only end one way.
Tobbin’s eyes go wide and he near charges in to the camp. The rest of you manage to comvinve him not to, but none of you can bring yourselves to wait and let this happen. Ahead of your planned time you all move into position and get ready to strike. You’re outnumbered 3 to 1 but there is no other choice.
Sifred and Tobbin take out their targets in the trees. Not as stealthily as you would’ve preferred but it’s done. In a rage Tobbin throws his assailant down into the camp. Izzar quickly sets the stables aflame, looses the horses and slips away. Seeing this Garlyn and Sithig leap to the fore and try to challenge the men.
The camp erupts into chaos. Your plan has worked for the most part and the bandits are confused and scattered. You quickly thin their numbers but the Gore-Hand (complete with a wicked looking gauntlet with a huge spike) manages to rally his men. Izzar falls by to the Gore-Hands vicious assault, bleeding out. Sithig too is nearly felled. Garlyn would have been slain had it not been for a wild-eyed Dealia flinging herself at the man and frantically screaming as she stabbed the man over and over in the face.
The battle is crazed and bloody and things look bad. In the space of only a few seconds however, you turn the tide. Izzar is back in the fray, Garlyntoo is up. Sithig and Tobbin dispatch some of the remaining bandits but it is Sifred who finishes the Gore-Hand.
With a hacking gurgle the bandit leader slumps to the ground.
You stand in the aftermath of the battle trying to piece together what has just happened. You’ve done it. You’ve freed Logerswold of their plight and felled a menace to Ferelden. Now you can take your spoils.
You find a number of trinkets and treasures within the camp. Izzar however finds the most interesting piece of loot: Hidden in a trunk in Gore-Hand’s tent is a ledger detailing attacks, loot taken and most shocking of all letters from Bann Trumhall issuing orders to the Gore-Hand who to attack and how to destabilise Logerswold.
Izzar for now keeps this to himself. He has a hefty decision to make and the future of the Ruswold Valley depends on it…